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Mexican and German Communal Forestry: An Accountability Framework for Comparing Governance

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Ruppert, Chantal; Antinori, Camille M.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/259
Sector: Social Organization
Forestry
Region: Europe
Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): common pool resources
forestry
transaction costs
accountability
governance and politics
IASC
Abstract: "Both Germany and Mexico, distinct in location and culture, have a tradition of collectively-owned forests and recently broadened rights of local communities in forestry management. Within these contexts has come the recognition of the forests 'potential in generating revenues' as a way to alleviate poverty and increase jobs in Mexico and to reduce financial deficits of forest companies and meet concerns of local citizens in Germany. Accordingly, community-level governance in both countries struggles with management models that incorporate civic concerns into making market and forestry management decisions over local forest lands. The German and Mexican cases represent varying levels of state, private and local control over forestry services, where Germany continues to have strong state involvement and Mexican communities remain heavily influenced by state policies. "The aim of this paper is to show that, although large differences exist between the two common property regimes, each side can learn from the other because of shared issues of management accountability and accessing expertise. Theories of the firm, namely agency theory and transaction cost economics, frame the analysis to explain how each country has dealt with monitoring and accountability issues pervasive in forest management. We conclude by suggesting arrangements to diminish further moral hazards 'a key problem addressed by agency theory' in both countries; emphasizing control mechanisms and merging responsibilities among the actors."

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